Becoming a more mature gamer, platformers were something that I had kind-of stopped playing if I’m completely honest. I’d become a big boy who only played RPGs or beat-em up’s, and didn’t have time for that kiddy crap, what a fucking fool I was!
In the last couple years I’ve definitely re-discovered my love for platformers. Not only is this massively helped by the recent great remasters of Spyro and Crash (Which I’ll move on to), but a huge resurgence in pixelated / 2D and VR platformers has floated my boat in a big way. First off I want to shout out to Rogue Legacy – This indie game is bloody great, simple in what it does but effective, and is my go-to ‘easy’ game, highly recommend it. Then we have Astro Bot which grabs VR platforming by the balls and makes an amazingly cute and captivating world that you just can’t stay away from; if you have PSVR but don’t have this title, you’re definitely missing out. Both of these games I play weekly, even if it is only for half an hour; they keep me happy and don’t make me feel like I need to reserve an entire night to properly enjoy them. Basically what I’m saying is I’ve had a re-ignited passion for them in recent times, and they make me happy and bring joy to my life… So being in this platforming euphoria, how does the little dragon, Spyro, measure up againt his competitors and rivals?
Well I suppose the biggest difference is the layout of the levels; Spyro is essentially one massive playground made up of many open worlds that all link to one another – Via portal, hot air balloons etc – Now I know Spyro isn’t the only game in the world to do this, but as an immediate comparison to Crash and Astro Bot, this is very different as on those you choose the level to go into, then explore it – And the level setup itself is different; Spyro is still one big world to run around in within the level, which you may need to go back into several times. The others tend to be one linear path of challenges with maybe a secret route here or there.
The challenge of the level is another difference, I think everyone agrees that Crash was way harder than we can all remember, Rogue Legacy is an endless gauntlet, and Astro Bot has its own challenges… Spyro isn’t that tough in comparison. You won’t find yourself dying too often, you may get the occasional smack from a big enemy, or fall off the edge due to bad gliding, but Sparx the Dragonfly will rarely disappear and let you die. Now it depends on what you want from a game, as I touched on here the simplicity of Spyro suited me as it’s exactly what I wanted from it, but you may be looking for more of a challenge. and will opt for another platformer.
The lead character… Think about how often you hear a lead character speak (In a platformer); the silent plumber, the resilient Bandicoot, the stalwart space bot… Maybe not standard descriptions of much loved characters, but compare them to Tom Kenny’s Spyro and they’re all quiet avengers. Spyro has sass and attitude, and quite often won’t want to listen to the old dragons (Although feedback on the first game took the sting out of his tail a little in 2 & 3). I really liked how much attitude Spyro had – It gave him so much more personality and a slight edge, it made sense he was skating, which was deemed ‘rebellious’ at the time. I do think Spyro as a character is pretty funky fresh and definitely gives the game it’s own feel.
Overall Spyro is actually pretty different when you compare to other recent platformers – It definitely carves it’s own path in what it is, and does enough to differentiate itself from the crowd.
Who’s your favourite platforming character? Please let us know!